A mood of introspection and self-criticism is beginning to envelop ruling SYRIZA as suggested in a damning report issued by its central committee ahead of the party’s congress in the fall.
According to the 52-page report – which includes 26 proposals for the way forward – the leftist-led government had “inexcusably underestimated a series of crucial factors” during its protracted negotiations with the country’s international creditors in the period leading up to the signing of the country’s third bailout in July 2015, and veered away from the plan of action hatched by the party before it took office.
The suspension of debt payments to creditors, capital controls and the referendum “were not part of our plan,” it said, adding that these moves were just the “final line of defense against the economic asphyxiation” the country was subjected to.
Alexis Tsipras’s administration was also slammed for not doing enough to avert the massive outflow of capital from Greek banks in the six-month period stretching from January to July 2015 that eventually led to the capital controls, which were imposed, it said, to “secure the solvency of the banking system and bank deposits of citizens.”
The report also cited the government’s “unsuccessful” bid to find alternative sources of finance while it clashed with Greece’s quartet of international creditors during negotiations that stretched from late January 2015 to July, when its signed the country’s third bailout.
As for the the party’s policy with regard to Europe once it came to power, the report said there was a complete ignorance of the intricate power balances governing the 28-nation bloc and that the government failed to present a plausible alternative plan to replace the austerity enshrined in the country’s bailout programs.
Limiting the discussion, it said, solely to the currency issue made it appear that the government’s alternative plan for growth – to replace the austerity prescribed in the bailouts – hinged solely on the idea of currency devaluation.
The government was also admonished for not sticking to its much-touted declaration that it would take unilateral legislative action – without the prior approval of creditors – to address the humanitarian crisis that the financial crisis sparked.
Moreover, the report said the party had been passive and complacent from 2012, when it was in the opposition, until it came to power, and just waited for the conservative government of Antonis Samaras to collapse under the increasing pressure of popular discontent.
Criticism was also heaped on the party’s inability to synthesize the disparate trends within the party into a coherent plan of action.
This fragmentation became more obvious after the third bailout was signed as different factions with the party “vied among each other” for influence.